Leonid Meteorological Explosion from 1999, seen at 38,000 feet from Leonid MAC's Instrument Airplane Campaign with a 50mm camera. (NASA / AMES RESEARCH CENTER / ISAS / SHINSUKE ABE AND HAJIME YANO)
Colorful shooting stars will soon scatter through the night sky during one of the most famous annual meteor shows. Leonid's meteor shower is expected to reach its peak Sunday evening by Monday morning, November 17-18.
Leonid's meteor shower occurs every year as Earth passes through a cloud of debris left by the comet 55P / Tempel-Tuttle. As the debris collides with the atmosphere, it creates shooting stars.
The Leonids derive their name from the constellation Leo – the meteors appear to radiate from this point in the sky. They are active for most of November, but will only become visible when they peak this weekend.
According to NASA, star stars can expect peaks of about 15 meteors per hour this year. Leonids are usually bright and colorful shooting stars at 44 miles per second, which creates steady footprints in the sky.
Every 33 years, the Leonids produce a meteor storm when a comet makes its closest passage to the sun, caused by particularly dense debris that produce more than 1,000 meteors per hour. Another is not expected until 2031.
When and where to watch the Leonids
To see the meteor shower, escape from the bright lights of your city and go to a place with a clear view of the night sky, According to NASA they will not see completely after midnight when the meteors collide with the atmosphere ahead.
Look east, lie flat on your back and look up, allowing your eyes to adjust to the darkness for about thirty minutes. Watch out for fireballs that are larger explosions of light and color that can last longer than average shooting stars. The show will continue until dawn.
Due to the nature of their orbit, Leonids enter the earth's atmosphere at the fastest possible meteor speeds. So, despite the relatively mild forecasts for this year's shower, stars will need to be able to see the long-lasting green streaks left behind.
Unfortunately, the moon will be full at 80% during the peak of the shower, so visibility will be difficult. The best views will come from blocking the moon from your field of view.
If you cannot get a clear view of the soul from your location, there is usually a NASA-organized meteor shower that can be observed from the comfort of your bed.
Following the Leonids, the next meteor shower to watch out for is the Geminids, which will peak this year on the night of December 13th.